If I haven’t made this clear before, harassment is a thing that I care pretty deeply about. I care about it because myself and other femme folks that I care deeply about face harassment on a daily basis simply for the act of being outside. Or being on the internet. Basically, we are punished on the regular for daring to enter areas where other people might have contact with us.
It’s not going to stop any time soon. I know that. But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to talk about it.
So here’s some stuff to think about when harassment comes up in conversation.
1. Don’t belittle our concerns.
I legit do not give a flying horses enchanted hooves if you have had your ass pinched by someone before and you thought it was sexy. Good for you! I’m glad the threat level of someone grabbing your ass is so minimal that you can think something like that is some kind of adorable, sexy joke. Odds are, if someone is complaining about harassment, it’s not a joke to them. It’s certainly not a joke to me. And your insistence that it’s somehow funny will result in the sound of me charging up my eye lasers.
2. Don’t act like it’s a compliment.
I don’t know how many times I have to say this before it finally sinks into the heads of the general population.
HARASSMENT IS NOT A COMPLIMENT.
Not now. Not ever. Having someone harass you when all you want to do is talk to your friends on Twitter or walk to the shops or get on a bus is not fun. It’s not something that people list as a turn on on OkCupid or FetLife. I cannot say that I have ever heard of an instance where a stranger telling a woman she’s got tits he’d like to use as basketballs resulted in a full and frank discussion of their likes and dislikes followed by an hour long hump at the local Motel 6.
3. Don’t tell us we’re being “too sensitive.”
Not for nothing, but I’m a pretty hard ass bitch, all things considered. Yes, I love puppies and bunnies and I cry at touching films, but you would be hard pressed to find a social situation that I would balk from on a given day.
That said, there have been days where I did not leave the house because I couldn’t put up with the harassment I was experiencing. I would sit in the house and wait for Frankie to get home so that I could go out with someone that presented masculine and be left alone because I was already “spoken for.”
Being exhausted and freaked out at the constant litany of harassment that one faces on a daily/weekly/whateverly basis is not a sign of sensitivity. It’s a sign of being human. If you got a sunburn every time you walked out the door, I bet you would spend more time with the shades drawn, wouldn’t you?
4. Shut the fuck up and listen when people talk.
Seriously. Just shut your mouth and listen. When people who experience systemic issues like sexism or racism or whatever the topic of the moment is, you can learn a lot by just keeping your mouth shut and listening to what they have to say. The world isn’t the neat little thing that you think it is. Your point of view is just one of TRILLIONS. Try opening your ears and you will be surprised at how enriching the things you find out will be to your life.
Huh. That’s the nicest thing that I’ve said this entire post. That was fun, wasn’t it? Honestly, though, I’m done being nice about this ever to anyone. I used to do this thing where I would try to explain why it was that this was an issue and how and all the sociological things and let people into my head to see my fear but honestly, it’s too much work. Fuck it. If you can’t take a slight re-direction in the form of me telling you not to be a shitheel when people are expressing fear and concern, you can kindly fuck off directly into the largest body of water you can find. Because fuck you.
And if you doubt for even a second that this stuff happens all the time. You can read other things that I’ve written about it. Here. And here. And also here, here and here. And that’s just the shit that warranted a blog entry.
This month has been a whirlwind with moving and everything. I’m pretty proud of myself that I managed to do the NoMo Challenge and write a blog entry every day. Admittedly, each one wasn’t a golden nugget of amazingness, particularly just before, during, and after the move, but at least I made my goal! Or will have made it once I do tomorrow’s entry.
I’m super happy with my success in the NoMo challenge this year. Next year I will do a few things differently. Here’s my advice for succeeding at writing a blog a day and feeling good about what you put out and also not burning out.
Write and schedule posts ahead of time. When you have the time and the inspiration, doing this will mean that you can take whole days off for yourself. During November, when the holidays start kicking up, this can be especially helpful.
Carve out time to write. Whether it’s 30 minutes or 2 hours, cutting out a part of your day and reserving it for writing in an atmosphere that is conducive to your process will up your chances for successfully writing things that you feel good about.
Record your ideas. Whenever you think of a topic that you think would make a good blog entry or article or what have you, make a note of it. There’s nothing better than sitting down to write and leisurely looking through a list of pre-generated topics.
Those are my notes to myself and all of you for NoMo next year. I hope they’re helpful if you want to do the challenge in 2016. Here’s hoping I remember them when the time comes to buckle down!
Going forward, I would like to take the momentum that I have gained this month and put it into writing every day. Not necessarily here in the blog, but generally. I have so many little projects that I have started and not finished. And with where I am at my job, 1000 words a day would not be hard to do while sitting at my desk.
This coming month will also feature heavily a paid writing gig. And I would like to pitch for some paid articles with larger publications in the coming month. One or two a week would make me feel as though I was doing my best in that area as a new writer.
Tonight Frankie and I are going to close the door on the old apartment. After she’s done work, we have to go and paint the walls of the old place.
Once this is done, we will leave the keys for them to pick up at their leisure. And thoroughly photograph the place so that no one can try to deny us our security deposit. We had the whole place professionally cleaned yesterday, so it looks amazing.
I’m really excited to never have to drive into that neighborhood again. Even yesterday taking out the trash was such a headache. It’s so nice to not have to drive around the block for an hour in order to just come home or drop off groceries.
The new house is really coming together. We have almost unpacked every box except the stuff in the basement that are going to live in their boxes anyway.
Settling in feels good. Living in a quiet neighborhood in a beautiful house feels even better. I don’t get woken up in the morning to the sound of drum lines or cheering while people are running marathons on my street. It’s bliss.
Cross your fingers for me that the painting goes quickly and well.
In the LGBTQ communities, there is a lot of talk about chosen families. The original purpose of these families was, ostensibly, to serve as a replacement for families who had rejected their children due to their sexual or gender identities.
I did not start using this term until very recently, when I sat back and took stock of my life and realized how few of my blood relations I really wanted to call family anymore. And how very many of my close friends I considered to be members of a strange and beautiful tapestry of gorgeous and dependable souls.
This is not to say that I don’t appreciate and love my close blood relations. My parents, brother, and I all get along really well. And their support and love means a lot to me. But the lack of an extended family of aunts, uncles, cousins, and grandparents has been something that I have felt keenly in my adult life.
Last night, after my Thanksgiving meal with my parents and brother and his girlfriend, I headed over to the home of two dear friends just in time for post-eating hangouts.
In the warmth of their apartment, I felt a glow that was familiar to me and that I had not felt in many years. It was the same glowing warmth that I used to feel when I was surrounded by my aunts, grandparents, and cousins when I was a kid enjoying the holidays.
Surrounded by kindred souls brought together by choice rather than chance, I felt like I was a part of something greater. And it feels so much more special, given the fact that it is built of a mutual love for each other that is chosen rather than dispensed by birth.
More than anything else, if I had to list a thing that I am thankful for this year, my chosen family would be that thing.
As I said in my post yesterday, Thanksgiving brings up a lot of feelings for me. It’s not just the family members who have passed on that get me thinking, though.
Like Christmas, Thanksgiving is a secular holiday for me and for most of my family and friends. I don’t put on any pretense that this holiday has anything to do with something positive in our history. In fact, the history of Thanksgiving is pretty messed up.
This time of year always gets me thinking about historical revisionism and the way that we write history so that we come out looking like the best possible version of ourselves.
When I first started studying history in college, I was shocked to find that so much of what I learned at school was at best morally ambiguous, at worst morally repugnant.
That said, I have a hard time with the notion that Thanksgiving itself has anything to do with happy pilgrims and Native Americans holding hands and eating turkey.
What I don’t have a problem with in regards to Thanksgiving is the notion of coming together with the people I care about and preparing to usher in a time of cold and hardship with a celebration of warmth and love.
I also think it’s important that we remember to be thankful for the things in our lives that make the upcoming winter season easier for us.
This year I am thankful for my chosen family first and foremost. From my chosen partner and our furry babies to our friends and the people that we choose to have in our lives. When I think about it, I have a small army of people behind me at any one time. And that knowledge makes it possible for me to fight any battle, knowing that I will be backed up no matter what.
I’m thankful as always for my health and the health of those around me. And for my blood family that have grown so much with me over the past year, who support me in everything that I do, and who I love so much.
I’m very thankful for my job. And for the comfort that having employment at a place like that affords me.
I’m also thankful for turkey. And pie. And other delicious noms.
And for you, reading this. Because your support and readership means a lot to me as I’m growing this space. Thank you for being here.
Thanksgiving is finally upon us. Tonight we are heading up to my parents to decorate the tree ahead of the Thanksgiving gorging that will happen tomorrow.
It’s strange how families can change over the years. Or our attitudes to them can, at any rate. I’m really excited to see my parents and eat and relax and have everyone together.
Thanksgiving has turned into a holiday filled with mixed feelings for me. When I was growing up, the whole family would turn up to my grandparents place and we would all eat together. So many of the people that I used to celebrate this holiday with are dead now or have moved on. Nowadays my Thanksgiving is small. My parents, my brother and his girlfriend, Frankie and I.
But the good thing about the smallness of the holiday for me is that everyone is a known quantity. I have seen so many articles recently on how to survive the holidays and how to talk to racist relatives and so on. It seems like people really don’t know how to handle their families at the holidays. The only thing I really have to do is avoid talking politics. But outside of that, everything is pretty smooth.
And honestly, if my parents and my family gave me so much stress that I had to think about coping mechanisms like drinking games when they were racist or thinking “YOU’RE AN ASSHOLE” in order to avoid saying it out loud, I probably just wouldn’t go to family holidays any more.
One of the biggest things about self care is the ability to say “no” to things that we know are bad for us, after all. And toxic people aren’t good for anyone. Not for themselves and not for the people around them.
At any rate, my small Thanksgiving isn’t so bad. It’s a little sad, but the people who are there are such a good and big part of my life that I don’t mind being a little sad when I think about the people who are gone.
Another reason I’m happy to have some time off and relax with family is that I won’t be on social media as much. The things going on in the news lately have been making me so sad that I can barely stand it. Hopefully I’ll be better able to cope with what I’m seeing after I’ve had a little time off from the constant grief streaming.
It’s been so great unpacking and getting used to our space. We are still miles away from being totally done. There are boxes everywhere, but at least the kitchen is totally done and ready to ring in the holidays.
I’m looking forward to Christmas already. One of the best things about the new place is thinking about settling in and getting some hyggee going on in the house. I am thinking big rugs and warm lighting and candles.
Refiners of the new frontier, one day they woke, heads sporting helmets rather than hats. No longer rustling cattle, they surf the edges of the known. Like mighty giants, they forge a path for us. Leaving civilization behind to uncover something new.